7. Industry and Commerce

THE discovery of gold in Piedmont Carolina began the first of three important epochs which differentiated the industrial history of Charlotte from neighboring communities. For it was gold, the selection of Charlotte as a railroad junction, and the building of a network of converging highways which made Charlotte great.
 
During the first half of the nineteenth century, Charlotte was the gold-mining center of the United States. The official figures for domestic sources of gold in the United States for the 50 year period prior to 1848, are:
 

Virginia $945,294.00
North Carolina $3,933,136.00
South Carolina $479,866.00
Georgia $2,320,216.00
All other sources $74,392.00

 
These figures may not seem impressive now, but from 1840 until the Civil War the production of gold sustained the economy of Mecklenburg and neighboring counties when other sections of the Carolinas and the South were seriously distressed. The goldmining industry continued to function, undisturbed by diminishing activities in our lines. The coinage records of the Charlotte branch of the United States Mint showed the following amounts, tiny today but important then:
 

1840 $237,055 1850 $347,791
1844 $147,200 1855 $217,935

 
Most of North Carolina's gold came from Mecklenburg, Gaston, Anson, Cabarrus, Rutherford, Davidson and Montgomery counties. In Mecklenburg, the first discovery was made in 1799 by the small son of Conrad Reed, who found a rich nugget weighing about 28 pounds in a section of Mecklenburg which later became Cabarrus County. Soon thereafter, some nuggets were found near Rozzell's Ferry in Mecklenburg.
 
The first attempt to follow a seam of gold in Mecklenburg was made by Samuel McComb in 1825. His mine, known first as Charlotte Mine and later as the St. Catherine Mine, was located on what is now West Morehead Street, near the Southern Railway underpass. Its location and that of other Charlotte mines can be determined from a map drawn in 1906 by engineer Charles G. (Tommy) Hubbel, now owned by the Public Library of Charlotte. Almost a hundred mines of various sizes and quality were opened within a radius of 20 miles of Charlotte. The most important of these was the Rudisill Mine of Count Ravafanoli, who brought with him many experienced miners from Italy and other parts of Europe.
 
The St. Catherine and Rudisill mines were the two most profitable in Mecklenburg. Assays from these mines ranged from $24.80 to $72.41 per ton.
 
With increased production, there came a demand from miners for a more convenient method of disposing of their gold than that of selling to banks or merchants at a discount, or waiting for months to get returns from the Philadelphia mint. The only alternative was to take it to Rutherfordton where Bechtler Brothers had a private coinage plant. The Bechtler coins, or more properly tokens, in denominations of $1, $2.50, and $5, were honestly made but of poor wearing quality. The best collection of these rare coins in this section is owned by the North Carolina National Bank at Charlotte.
 
After long and persistent efforts, Congress, on March 3, 1835 authorized the erection of a branch of the United States Mint at Charlotte. This branch, opened December 4, 1837, was the first branch of the mint to be opened, though two others were authorized at the same time, one at New Orleans and the other at Dahlonega, Georgia. The Charlotte branch was designed by William Strickland, a Philadelphia artist and architect, and has been admired through the years for the simplicity and dignity of its modified Classic lines. Its only ornament was a huge eagle which rested above the front door, for years a familiar Charlotte landmark. The removal and restoration of this building, nearly a hundred years later, as the Mint Museum of Art (described in Chapter 12) is one of the most refreshing incidents of Charlotte's history.
 
The Charlotte branch of the mint was burned in July 1844 and notwithstanding the large volume of business transacted before the fire, Congress was reluctant to provide funds for its rebuilding. Credit is due Congressman D. M. Barringer, on this district, for securing passage of an act which resulted in the rebuilding of the mint in 1845 and 1846. Gold coins minted at Charlotte may be identified by the letter "c" and they are, of course, very scarce and valuable. The first deposit of gold in the Charlotte branch was made by Irwin & Elms on December 4, 1837, and the total coinage during the life of the mint was $5,109,443.88.
 
From the time it was rebuilt until the Civil War the history of the Charlotte branch of the mint was uneventful. In 1861 the mint property was seized by the Confederate authorities and held by them as military headquarters for the area until 1865. For the next two years it served very much the same purpose for the Federal authorities occupying Charlotte.
 
The mint was reopened May 1, 1869 as an assay office only, since the production of gold in Mecklenburg and vicinity had so dwindled that coinage could be done at Philadelphia. At the close of the War the only gold mine in operation in Charlotte was the Rudisill mine operated by J. H. Carson which, with the 350 foot shaft and 3,500 feet of levels, was the largest in this section. From then until 1903 several other mines were worked for short periods but with the rising cost of labor and materials, all operations ceased about 1900. The depression revived a slight interest in gold-mining about 1934 because labor was cheap and the government had increased the price of gold from $20.67 to $35 per ounce. The Rudisill and Capps mines closed with the return of prosperity a short time later.
 
By 1913 the production of gold in North Carolina had so nearly stopped that the Charlotte branch of the mint was ordered closed. From then until 1932 the building was used for a variety of purposes.
 
Many incidents of historic interest were associated with the Charlotte branch of the mint. In 1901, Thomas A. Edison spent several months experimenting in the mint with methods of extracting gold from ore by the use of electricity. The first superintendent of the mint was John H. Wheeler, who is best remembered for his authoritative Historical Sketches of North Carolina, and Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians. Others who served as superintendent were Burgess H. Gaither, Greene W. Caldwell, William J. Alexander, J. W. Osborne, Dr. I. W. Jones and Calvin J. Cowles. The assayer during the whole period before the War was Dr. J. H. Gibbon. The assayer after the reopening in 1869 was Calvin J. Cowles and the "melter" was George B. Hanna. Stuart W. Cramer, who later became a textile leader and for whom the town of Cramerton is named, became assayer on July 29, 1899. When the mint closed on July 31, 1913 the assayer in charge, Frank P. Drane, recorded this final inscription in the guest register of the mint: "The property of the United State Government. To be held in trust by the Carnegie Library of Charlotte, subject to the call of the Director of the Mints."
 
Charlotte's earliest industries sprang from a demand created by the growing population. The first such need in the semi-civilized frontier area was for rifles, and the first industry was apparently a rifle factory. There came into existence by 1800 a flour mill, saw mill, and blacksmith shop, as well as several small stores. The trend in Charlotte and throughout the Carolinas was for a diversified economy, in keeping with the needs of the people. This trend was slowed and eventually almost halted with the cotton gin of Eli Whitney came into general use. This invention had a profound influence upon all aspects of life in the South, including industry and commerce in Charlotte.
 
Until the cotton gin, only a little cotton had been raised in Mecklenburg. It had to be tediously prepared by hand for the spinning wheel and loom. The process was so slow that only such time as could be spared from more important duties was given to the raising of cotton. The cotton gin changed this routine. Notwhitstanding its crudeness, separating the seed from the lint being only about five times as fast as by hand, great impetus was given by the gin to the cultivation of cotton, and from then on the growth of the cotton industry was rapid and steady.
 
In the light of future developments, this new economic trend is known to have been one of very great peril to the welfare of the Carolinas and many parts of the South. The development of a sound, balanced and diversified business structure gave way before the apparent advantage of producing cotton. As the cotton gin was perfected and demand for cotton increased, the industry eventually surpassed all other lines of business. Shops, which had been productive, were closed to the public and utilized only for what was needed on the plantation. More cotton was ginned in Mecklenburg than any other county in North Carolina.
 
The increased demand for cotton created a greater need for slave labor and the traffic in slaves reached huge proportions. Production of cotton not only required a great deal of labor, but large acreage per capita. This course of events resulted in fewer industries requiring skill, and there was no necessity for scientific farming, or anything else scientific, since at that time, practically all cotton was shipped to the industrialized North for conversion into cloth.
 
The white population became quite content with this situation. By 1850 the interests of people whose minds had been occupied with miscellaneous industries and the industrial expansion, had narrowed to the development and growth of cotton. The pleasant life they lived has been told over and over again in books, plays and songs based upon the carefree and luxurious ante-bellum South. There is no denying the fact that during this period the Southern white people were happy, moderately prosperous and complacent. Those who weren't, left. This was certainly true of Mecklenburg, where the population dropped from 20,073 in 1830 to 13,814 in 1850. Thousands emigrated to the West, some because the fertility of Mecklenburg soil had been reduced by the constant planting of cotton, while others were lured by the California gold rush.
 
The second and probably the most important of three developments which exerted the greatest influence upon Charlotte's industrial destiny was the selection of the city as a junction for several railroads. Details of rail and other forms of transportation will be found in Chapter 6, but here we must point out their importance to Charlotte's industrial growth.
 
While rail transportation first became available to Charlotte in October 1852, it was not until the close of the Civil War that extensive benefits were felt. According to D. A. Tompkins, "The effects of the emancipation upon all phases of industrial life was immediate and revolutionary." Subsequent events proved that Charlotte unquestionably escaped the worst evils of the reconstruction period. The relationship between Charlotte citizens and the 4,000 Northern troops sent to occupy the town following Lee's surrender seems to have been as pleasant as possible under the circumstances, and far better than in most other places.
 
With such an atmosphere and as the center of a production territory, and having the advantages of railroads and good government, Charlotte attracted many desirable citizens from more turbulent sections. With the arrival of these newcomers, interest in a wide range of industrial activities was renewed. The first seems to have been the repossession of the Mecklenburg Iron Works.
 
Though the exact date of its formation is unknown, Mecklenburg Iron Works is, without doubt, the oldest enterprise now doing business in Charlotte. The discovery, a few years ago, of a casting with the words, "Mecklenburg Iron Works 1846," leaves no room for questioning the fact that the firm is well into its second century. Unfortunately, the details of ownership and operations are unknown before 1859, when the plant was acquired by Captain John Wilkes.
 
Captain Wilkes, son of Admiral Charles Wilkes, was born in New York City March 31, 1827, was graduated first in his class of 135 members in 1847 from the United States Naval Academy, and for several years afterwards served, with distinction, in the navy. In April 1854 he was married and the following October located in Charlotte where, in 1859, he acquired the Mecklenburg Iron Works.
 
In 1861 the plant was taken over by the Confederate Government and used as a naval ordnance depot. Following the war, Mr. Wilkes regained his property and between then and the time of his death, July 6, 1908, "veritably molded the sword . . . into plow shares, emblems of peace and agriculture, predominant interests of the people of Mecklenburg at that time."
 
Following his death, the sons J. Renwick Wilkes and Frank Wilkes continued the business for many years but with diminishing success. In June 1950 the business was acquired by Mr. C. M. Cox and associates, since which time production has increased considerably. Products have varied over the years from mining machinery and naval ordnance to turpentine stills; presently the fabrication of structural steel, engineering tank work and similar products come from the plant on its eleven acre tract on North Summit Avenue.
 
The demand for dwellings caused by the population influx after the Civil War ended was responsible for the establishment of two planing mills and a sash and door factory. These were followed by a pump manufacturer and several other small industries. Progress might have been more rapid but for the high price paid for cotton during the first few years following the war. Anyone could live by the cultivation of a few acres. Soon the increased cultivation forced the price down and then farmers and local capitalists began to realize that the only way of bettering their condition was by manufacturing the raw product at home instead of sending it away.
 
There were 33 cotton mills in North Carolina in 1873, but there were none in Mecklenburg. Several attempts to organize mills had failed. The Charlotte Cotton Mill, first of its kind, came into being in 1881. In 1896 there were five cotton mills in Charlotte and by 1903 the number had been increased to 17, with one each in Davidson, Pineville, Huntersville, and Cornelius.
 
The value of cotton seed for oil and other purposes soon became known and two mills for producing oil from cotton seed were established in Charlotte and one in Davidson. Two cotton compresses, with a total capacity of about 150,000 bales annually, were built, enabling growers to secure cash advances on cotton while holding it for a possible higher prices.
 
Charlotte is centrally located in America's largest textile manufacturing section, but the absorption of small mills into large chains, with tremendous plants variously located according to their power and labor needs, has removed from the city proper most of the mills of which the people were so proud at the turn of the century.
 
The removal of the mills to nearby communities caused Charlotte's reputation to change from that of a manufacturing community to that of a financial and distributing center, a description that seems to become more and more appropriate as the second half of the twentieth century progresses. This change can be largely attributed to the third factor which influence the industrial growth of Charlotte following the Civil War.
 
Had it not been for an early start in providing good roads, the chances are that Charlotte would not today be one of the nation's leading trucking and distribution centers.
 
Agitation for better roads in Charlotte began shortly after the Civil War, but it was not until November 8, 1887 that the city voted the first bonds in the sum of $50,000 for street improvements. Mecklenburg County soon followed by having the legislature approve the use of prisoners for road work. Daniel Augustus Tompkins, Charlotte industrialist, wrote a number of technical and inspirational pamphlets on the subject of good roads. Thomas LeRoy Kirkpatrick, lawyer, legislator and mayor, was so influential in his efforts to have more and better roads that he is given a large part of the credit for the passage of North Carolina's unprecedented $65,000,000 bond issue for good roads in 1921. Charlotte's Cameron Morrison is identified in North Carolina history as the "Good Roads Governor," although he later lamented that the use of this appellation inferred that his good deeds were limited to one field.
 
Beginning with the influence of gold mines prior to the Civil War, of railroads in the first decades of peace and, more recently, of highways, Charlotte has reached the pinnacle in the Carolinas as an industrial and distribution center.
 
Cotton, however, in one way or another is still one of the important commodities to Charlotte, notwithstanding the growth of the synthetic textile industry. Although there are not many textile plants located within the city, those within a 50 mile radius contribute substantially to Charlotte's prosperity. Because of its location the city has been selected as headquarters for sales, executive and research facilities of many large textile firms.
 
While most of the textile miles that dotted the Charlotte landscape at the turn of the century have moved to nearby points, a few still remain, notably Barnhardt Manufacturing Company.
 
Other well known textile industries of long standing in Charlotte are the Highland Park Manufacturing Company, founded June 15, 1891 and shortly thereafter acquired by W. E. Holt, C. W. Johnston, J. S. Spencer and their associates; and Nebel Knitting Company, founded by William Knebel in 1923.
 
So great has been the diversification of business and industry in Charlotte since 1900 that no single industry can be said to dominate the business life of a city, a factor of much importance in maintaining stable work conditions. As an indication of this variety, a few firms are mentioned here:
 
Agricultural Machinery
Industry in the twentieth century got off to a good start in Charlotte. First in the list of several firms that have not only weathered the intervening years, but have enjoyed continuous growth, is the Cole Manufacturing Company, organized January 1900. The company was founded by E. A. and E. M. Cole to produce seed planters, invented and patented by E. M. Cole. To date, more than two million seed planters, fertilizer distributors and grain drills have been sold in this and other countries. The Cole Manufacturing Company has followed the rule, practiced in Charlotte more than elsewhere, of retaining ownership and management in the founding family. Mrs. Jean Cole Hatcher, daughter of E. A. Cole, is currently president of the corporation.
 
Cast Iron Soil Pipe
The Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company operates the oldest cast iron soil pipe plant in America. Founded by Willis Frank Dowd, Sr. in 1900, the plant has grown from 25 employees, using hand-moulding methods, to a modern plant with some 500 employees, producing more than 300 tons daily of pipe and machine-made fittings. W. Frank Dowd, Jr., succeeded his father as president of the firm and the present officials include Frank Dowd III and his brother Roddey Dowd, of the third generation in the life of the company.
 
Industrial Air Conditioning Equipment
Parks-Cramer Company came into existence August 27, 1918 through the consolidation of a firm founded at Fitchburg, Massachusetts in 1901 by Gilbert M. Parks, and a Charlotte firm composed of Stuart W. Cramer, William B. Hodge and others. The business, then as now, included the manufacture of industrial air conditioning equipment, trademarked "Certified Climate." It is interesting to note, in this connection, that Mr. Cramer originated and was first to use the term, "air-conditioning." His first public use of the term was in a talk which he made in Asheville, May 1906, before the Southern Cotton Manufacturers' Association. The products of Parks-Cramer Company are used by the textile industry.
 
Textile Machinery
The Terrell Machine Company was incorporated the same month that the United States entered World War I, so that its president, E. A. Terrell, had to turn the office over to his wife just before he entered the army. Mr. Terrell succeeded to the management of the business upon the death of his father and it has since been built into a textile machinery manufacturing plant with a worldwide clientele. During World War II the Terrell Machine Company sponsored formation of a War Production Pool, which used the services of some twenty other firms to produce military equipment. It has some 1000 employees.
 
Peanut Food Products
Some romance is attached to the founding of many of America's leading corporations, but none more interesting than the story of Lance.
 
A coffee salesman named Philip L. Lance in 1913 began roasting peanuts, later grinding them into peanut butter to be used as a filler between soda crackers.
 
Mr. Lance was soon joined by his son-in-law, Mr. E. S. Van Every, in their second floor 14 x 22-foot plant. They first sold peanuts and peanut butter sandwiches on street corners, door-to-door, merchant-to-merchant, from baskets on the arm. Later, their progress was accelerated by a rented buggy, succeeded by a Model T Ford.
 
Headquarters was moved to a three story building in January 1926. By 1940, Lance had three big wings added and a fourth wing was built in 1950. Today, Lance is one of the largest and best known manufacturers of peanut butter sandwiches and other peanut food products. The firm is also known throughout the South and Southeast because of its fine Multiple Management program in which labor and management cooperate for mutual interest. Success has made the old manufacturing plant obsolete, and in 1961 construction was begun on a large new operation in Charlotte's suburban industrial area.
 
Chemicals
Charlotte Chemical Laboratories was formed, with the Chemical Construction Company, in 1914. Both firms had the same officers: Peter S. Gilchrist, I. Hechenbleikner, T. C. Oliver, and A. M. Webb. For a number of years the laboratories developed certain patented items and special application materials. In 1933, with the sale of the Chemical Construction Company, the Charlotte Chemical Laboratories gradually evolved form a research company to one of manufacture, development and sales. The company is firmly entrenched in the field of textile chemicals and specialties and its operations cover a wide territory. At the present time C. W. "Pat" Gilchrist is president; R. D. Long, vice president, and Peter S. Gilchrist, Jr., secretary and treasurer. Affiliated companies are Chemical Corners., Inc., Chemical Development and Estimate Corporation, Technical Processors, and Southern Products and Silica Company, Inc., of Lilesville, North Carolina.
 
Wholesale Trade
It is unfortunate that the Charlotte authority can't be here today who in 1875 wrote, "The wholesale trade . . . it is an immense one and promises to be larger still." He would be the first to admit that his was an understatement, insofar as Charlotte is concerned.
 
A description of Charlotte's wholesale trade is likely to be a little confusing because of some overlapping and change in terminology. In the last half of the nineteenth and first part of the twentieth centuries, those who sold for resale were known as wholesale merchants or jobbers. A few still are so called, but most have come to be known as distributors.
 
The strictly wholesale firms or jobbers in Charlotte today are represented by such companies as Allison-Erwin Company and American Hardware and Equipment Company in the hardware field; Scott Drug Company and Burwell and Dunn division of McKesson & Robbins in drugs; Williams & Shelton in dry goods; and Bigger Brothers and Thomas & Howard in the wholesale produce and staple grocery fields.
 
Business firms listed as distributors are of two kinds: factory owned branches, and locally owned firms with franchises for the sale of such items as gas and electric household appliances, office machines, bulk chemicals, and other wares or commodities. By way of illustrating this point as applied to Charlotte, a few firms from each category described:
 
Allison-Erwin Company
The earliest ancestor of Allison-Erwin Company was the Charlotte Hardware Company, chartered in 1875. Ownership passed in 1906 to a new corporation headed by Robert Glasgow and R. L. Erwin, father of J. C. Erwin, currently president of the firm. Two years after this incorporation, Henry J. Allison, the 1960 chairman of the board, was employed as an office boy. The second president of the firm was J. C. McNeely (1906-1912) followed by Robert Glasgow (1912-1929) and J. Starr McNeely, vice president and general manager (1921-1922).
 
A few years after the organization, the retail and wholesale divisions of the business were separated, and the retail section eventually discontinued. The wholesale division became known as the Glasgow-Allison Company and since 1946 the Allison-Erwin Company. Growth of the firm for more than half a century culminated in the opening on October 2, 1957 of a huge new home office and warehouse properly equipped for the modern distribution of hardware, floor coverings, and major home appliances from more than 1,000 manufacturers. The company has extensive warehouses in Asheville, Goldsboro and High Point in North Carolina and Charleston, Greenville and Columbia in South Carolina.
 
American Hardware & Equipment Company
Founded by Charles Nuchols and James B. Duke, March 29, 1917, the American Hardware & Equipment company is now headed by the founder's son, Lawrence D. Nuchols. The firm operates branches in Greenville, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina for servicing some 3,000 accounts.
 
Scott Drug Company
On March 1, 1891 Mr. John M. Scott formed a wholesale drug partnership with Mr. R. H. Jordan under the name of Jordan & Scott. In 1894 Mr. Jordan retired from the partnership and the business was incorporated under the name of John M. Scott & Company, under which name it has continued as one of the South's leading wholesale drug firms. Management of the firm passed form John M. Scott and his brother Walter Scott to Walter Scott, Jr., currently president and treasurer.
 
Williams & Shelton Company
Mr. Charles A. Williams, Sr. founded the Williams & Shelton Company, wholesale dealers in dry goods, wearing apparel, variety store merchandise and toys, on January 1, 1898. Under the leadership of its founder, the firm soon became and has since remained one of the city's most substantial enterprises. Abandoning its downtown location in 1957 for a suburban plant, it is today headed by the founder's sons, Charles A. Williams, Jr., president, and J. Lauer Williams, vice president.
 
Pritchard Paint and Glass Company
In 1904 the Ezell-Myers Company, a North Carolina corporation, was formed for the purpose of operating a retail paint store in Charlotte. In 1920 T. W. Pritchard purchased control of the Ezell-Myers Company and formed the Ezell-Pritchard Company, which was later changed to the Pritchard Paint and Glass Company. It is one of the largest independent dealers and jobbers of paints and glass in the South, with locations in Charlotte, Asheville, Durham and Raleigh. In 1959 the Pritchard Paint & Glass Company erected a beautiful new building containing a large retail paint and wallpaper store, the company's general office, and a warehouse and plant of approximately 40,000 square feet.
 
Clark Publishing Company
Organized January 12, 1911 by David Clark to publish a weekly journal, Southern Textile Bulletin (now Textile Bulletin, published monthly) Clark Publishing Company and the later acquired Washburn Printing Company, are fixtures in Charlotte's industry. The first issue of Textile Bulletin was published March 2, 1911 and in January 1937, another monthly journal, The Knitter, was launched. In 1943, Clark-Smith Publishing Company was established to publish the monthly journals, Southern Hospitals and Municipal South. Upon the death of David Clark in November 15, 1955, Junius Smith, a longtime associate, became president of both companies.
 
Construction Industry
The demand for residential, industrial and road construction has brought into the picture of the city's business life a number of construction and contracting firms.
 
J. A. Jones Construction Company
A firm little known to Charlotte citizens but one known widely throughout the rest of the world is the J. A. Jones Construction Company. Founded in 1894 by James Addison Jones, this company had an impressive record of building accomplishments prior to World War II. By that time it had developed a large group of men with engineering and construction ability, plus experience; it was drafted to build the atomic bomb plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee and was awarded a contract to build one shipyard for the Maritime Commission, and operate two others for them. Before the shipyards were completed Jones had contracted to build the ships and in two years launched 212 freighters (2,100,000 tons, total). The company also managed and built twelve complete camps, the equivalent of 12 cities of 25,000 population each. Construction included not only buildings, but sidewalks, water and sewage systems, streets, paving, lighting and fire protection. At times the Jones organization reached 60,000 employees.
 
Following World War II, the J. A. Jones Construction Company was successful bidder in monumental projects in many parts of the world, and sent trained personnel to distant points from Charlotte. On August 19, 1944, the company's fiftieth anniversary, J. A. Jones could look back on more than a billion dollars worth of construction work done by the company he founded when he was 25 years of age. What was probably more important to Mr. Jones, was the fact that five sons, Raymond A., Edwin L., Paul S., Robert J., and Johnny H. were active in business with him. Upon the founder's death, May 1950, his oldest son, Edwin L. Jones, became president of the firm. Currently, three grandsons of the founder are active in the business: Edwin L. Jones, Jr., Johnny H. Jones, Jr., and Raymond A. Jones, Jr.
 
Goode Construction Company
On December 11, 1960, Mr. Roy L. Goode became entitled to celebrate the golden anniversary of the Goode Construction Company, of which he is the founder. This general contracting firm can be given credit for some of Charlotte's most attractive residences as well as commercial and institutional buildings.
 
Blythe Brothers Company
Founded January 4, 1921 by F. J. and Joe L. Blythe, the firm of Blythe Brothers Company is now headed by F. J. Blythe, Jr. The company performs all kinds of heavy construction work and has done a sizable amount of business in all of the southeastern states, in North Africa and, for a number of years, in Puerto Rico.
 
McDevitt & Street Company
The firm of McDevitt & Street Company was principal contractor for many outstanding Charlotte buildings. Organized as a partnership in 1917 and incorporated in 1925 by J. J. McDevitt, the firm has been McDevitt & Street Company since March 1941. Since 1931 Mr. C. P. Street has owned controlling interest in the firm and acted as general manager.

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